Siena | view from Grand Hotel Continental

view of Siena (c) 2019 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

I am constantly reminded how much a knowledgable and gifted tour guide can add to one's travels. We had just a couple of hours during our whirlwind tour of Tuscany to walk through Siena, and our IC Bellagio guide made the absolute most of our brief visit. We met her outside St. Catherine of Siena Church and walked inside to view its imposing interior. We learned about Catherine who grew up in Siena and became a theologian. Adopting a vegan diet at age 16, she unfortunately did not thrive on this diet and died very young, at age 33. An influential scholar and doctor of the church, Catherine traveled to Avignon and convinced the Pope to move the papacy back to Rome. Her head and finger are on display in the church.

We continued our walk, all the time learning about the seventeen contrade of Siena, each named after an animal. We rode a long series of escalators up to the level of the cathedral where we saw some of the major sights, learned about the Palio Horse Race, and walked into the square where this annual event is held. We concluded our visit with lunch and a site inspection at Grand Hotel Continental. The hotel is so close to everything, the photograph shows the view from the terrace of one of the hotel's Deluxe View rooms... definitely the hotel if choice if you want to stay in the center of a very interesting city.

copyright (c) 2019 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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